Book: Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers 3) by Becky Chambers
Release Date: July 24th 2018
Tags: Sci-Fi / Space / Space Ships / Fleet / Community / Sex Workers / Aliens / Self-Discovery / LGBTQ+ / Bisexual / Lesbian
Trigger Warnings: Death
Other books in this series I reviewed
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet / A Closed and Common Orbit
From the ground, we stand. From our ship, we live. By the stars, we hope
Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat.
Tessa chose to stay home when her brother Ashby left for the stars, but has to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is threatened.
Kip, a reluctant young apprentice, itches for change but doesn’t know where to find it.
Sawyer, a lost and lonely newcomer, is just looking for a place to belong.
When a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who still call the Fleet their home can no longer avoid the inescapable question:
What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?
One of the most anticipated releases of 2018 has to have been the third Wayfarers book by Becky Chambers. Was it a disappointment? No. Was it different from the other two? Yes.
Record of a Spaceborn Few is yet another introspective novel, that dives deep into the reflection on oneself and their surroundings. It is perhaps the most introspective out of the three Wayfarer books. Whereas the other two have a focus on the interactions with alien species, this book focuses almost solely on the community and humans aboard the fleet. The fleet is the Exodus fleet, the space ships the last humans on Earth used to leave Earth to find a new home. Centuries later the fleet still exists with Exodians on it.
Through the means of Ghuh’loloan’s articles and the point of view of a few of the inhabitants it raises interesting questions regarding community, humans place in the galactic community and what the point is of a ship that has reached its destiny. But there are other little bits that sneak through like how coin influences a community that is based on making sure everyone in the community is provided for and a tiny bit of trade of items. Empathy for those you might now know. The role of caretakers and the care taking of dead bodies. Those bits make the world building of this book and of the fleet such a strong hold and it is one of the things that Chambers excels in. And even know I think there is still a lot left to discover about the fleet.
Initially when I started this book I wasn’t quite as taken by the characters as I wanted to be. There is a bigger cast of characters here and the chapters aren’t very long. And yet by the time I was halfway through the book and one of the big events happened, I realized how a hold some of these characters had taken a hold on me.
Tessa for instance seems to have it all until at the end it turns out that nothing is perfect and she isn’t so sure of the fleet as she thinks she should be. She is also our link to the Wayfarer crew as she is the sister of Ashby. Seeing his father and his family through the eyes of his sister was such an interesting take. Another character was Kip, a teen, who is struggling to find his way in the fleet. What is he suppose to do with his life in the fleet when there is so much out there? Sawyer was also an interesting addition. A newcomer from a planet, whose ancestors once came along with the fleet but departed to find their way amongst others. It shows a lesser side to the community of the fleet. They aren’t that welcoming.
The idea behind the archives is interesting. No artifacts or papers. Only digital archives of their ancestors. Ghuh’loloan’s articles and addition to the archivist’s story was a good idea. It gave the story a needed completely different view on things.
Overall a great book to read!